I’ve wanted to see the Blue Man Group since I moved to the Chicago area two years ago. “They’re a Chicago institution!” friends exclaimed. “You have to play tourist and go!” co-workers advised. But you know how it goes—weekends fill up, times goes by and before you know it, two years have passed and you’re still void of the Blue Man Group experience.
Well, I finally resolved to right that wrong, and can I just say? I loved it. The show is quirky, creative and celebrates an insatiable curiosity for life—all hallmarks of good performance art. It also strikes that hard-to-hit balance of an all-ages show that still captivates adults.
So: 1) Go see the Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St.. 2) Hit up one of these five spots with the fam for a bite before or after the show.
3040 N. Clark St.
No idea how you’ll pick just one or two things from The Clark Street Dog’s classic menu, so plan on a few boxes to go and order up. Cheese fries, the Philly steak sandwich and, obviously, the Clark Street Hot Dog (for $3.39!) should make the list. (P.S. There’s a full bar, too.)
3201 N. Halsted St.
A little more upscale, Drew’s is a cozy place for family brunch while watching the city zoom by outside. Try the Lemon Custard French Toast with raspberry coulis and lemon-honey mascarpone. Kids will love the Buttermilk Pancakes or Drew’s Grilled Cheese served with tomato soup.
3155 N. Halsted St.
Looking for something to grab and go? Eat a Pita serves up classic fare in pitas—steak stir-fry to chicken salad—plus Mediterranean favorites like chicken kabobs. Good luck keeping your kids away from the must-have-it milkshake menu, which features the usual suspects plus fun flavors like Dreamsicle and Chocolate-Cherry.
921 W. Belmont Ave.
Korean for you, American for the kids. Try a BOP plate with marinated Korean barbecue steak and kimchi, or go for the Bi Bim Bop, a mix of veggies in sweet and spicy Korean chili sauce. Little ones can tuck into a classic burger and fries, but if they’re feeding adventurous, try the kimchi fries, made with caramelized kimchi, cheese sauce and bacon.
958 W. Belmont Ave.
Bread, cheese and a place it’s OK to be noisy—as a parent, what more do you need? I’m going for The Mac, with homemade mac and cheese on Texas toast and tomato soup dipping sauce. (Like, what?) You’ll also find a variety of craft beer and a small but mighty kids menu with complete meals for just $3.99.